How Social Media Is Changing How Big Brands Interact

Social media keeps changing and is now a major marketing expense for big brands in 2024. It’s a dynamic landscape, and these platforms are where companies are focusing their budgets.

The trends are clear – social media is key for brands looking to make an impact and connect with customers. Big brands are putting their money where it matters most – on social media.

It’s estimated that social network ad spending will reach just under $95 billion worldwide this year, and that number is expected to soar to more than $105 billion next year. 

social media is changing

Marketing has been immensely transformed in just the last few years alone. Years ago, brands just cared about print advertising, a display ad in some major digital newspapers, and maybe a Twitter X account.

Today, however, brands have been spending big bucks on social media, mobile advertising, and data analytics.

It’s as simple as this: “social media have changed how big brands do business, interact with customers, market their products, and build a strong reputation.

What Is Changing Today

Social Media is rapidly evolving each year; however, 2024 brings some exciting changes that marketers should be aware of if they want to remain competitive. The continued rise of AI & automation will provide greater targeting options & increased personalization capabilities. Furthermore, visuals and videos will become increasingly important for capturing attention.

Augmented engagement opportunities will give brands access to markets previously inaccessible due to cost barriers and the lack of resources required for traditional marketing methods involved.

All these advancements will require marketers to adapt accordingly if they hope to stay ahead curve and succeed in the digital age as social media is changing rapidly every day.

Big Brands and eCommerce

As big brands become active participants in social media, a new industry has been spawned: social commerce. This is when the concepts of eCommerce and social media integration form social commerce. It’s a $1.3 trillion industry,  and with just a market share of five percent, many brands are hopping on the bandwagon and hoping to accelerate the growth of the industry.

Why not? There are plenty of opportunities to gain a percentage of that pie by driving sales and acquiring leads.

Big brands are very effective in social media. Just how can small businesses learn from social media rockstars?

First, you have to identify just which of the major brands are fully using social media and providing marketing students with case studies.


Top 9 Brands on Social Media

According to eClincher, these are the top 9 brands (in no particular order) that are dominating the social media landscape:

  • Go Pro
  • Nike
  • Wayfair
  • Pop-Tarts
  • National Geographic
  • Starbucks
  • Dove
  • Wendys

Here is what the website concludes in its list of the top brands on social media:

Most of these top brands have at least one thing in common: They’re engaging with their target audience, and they’re not just doing it occasionally.

They’re making target audience engagement a priority. Social media platforms are first and foremost social networking sites, which means people are there to connect with others.

Thus, you have to do just that. Respond to their questions and comments and find ways to encourage them to engage with you.

So, just how are these brands doing an amazing job on social media? That’s the second part. Let’s find out how with these five methods:

  1. Customer Service & Reputation Management
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Social Commerce
  4. Visual Content
  5. User-Generated Content

Customer Service & Reputation Management

Remember when you had a discrepancy with a bill or you had trouble with a service, and you had to call a 1-800 number and wait an hour or two to speak with someone? Well, you still may have to do that with a cable or telephone service, but for the most part, you can simply tweet a brand on Twitter or make a comment on the firm’s Facebook page.

Customer service has greatly changed and improved, all thanks to social media.

If people are complaining about a power outage or shoddy food at one of the nation’s big chains then you will likely receive a response from the brand, and sometimes within moments of sending out the tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram.

Social media has helped improve a brand’s reputation. When something goes wrong with a product or a service, the brand will work day and night to rectify the situation and, of course, broadcast its hard work and dedication all over Facebook and Twitter.

Moreover, brands like to showcase their philanthropic efforts on social media. All of this is part of the brand’s reputation management strategy. All companies should employ a similar strategy. Everything is social media so if you ever want to perform a makeover of your brand then social media is the way to go.

Content Marketing

Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. What’s the use of content marketing if you’re not going to share it with the rest of the world? From articles to images, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, Pinterest are all platforms to take advantage of for your content.

Here are a few of the best social media tips for your content marketing campaign:

  • Share images on Twitter to accompany your article, blog post, or webinar.
  • Save images on Instagram to increase engagement.
  • Reframe your content in multiple ways to suit your audience.
  • Be transparent about your company; share details about your brand online.
  • Establish Google authorship since you can better rank on search results pages.
  • Remember to share your content multiple times to hit the right time zones, garner more traffic, increase circulation, and perhaps reach new followers.

Big brands are promoting their infographics, videos, and free ebooks all over social media. These are just some of the ways they’re achieving the aim of awareness, reputation, and more sales.

GoPro, the action camera maker, pretty much mastered this art form. If you peruse the company’s YouTube and Instagram accounts, you will notice the hundreds of user-submitted videos, which include those consumers jumping out of airplanes, cycling in forests, and surfing the waves.

Social Commerce

All of the primary players in the social media realm enable you to shop directly on the website. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all have buyable buttons for you to purchase some of your favorite brands without having to click through a series of links and spend a lot of time waiting.

Social commerce is the next big thing in the world of eCommerce. There are four distinct reasons why consumers and brands are both becoming excited over this new online trend as social media is changing:

  • Social shopping replicates the offline shopping experience.
  • Your online shopping experience is curated by the brand.
  • Peer recommendations help boosts online word-of-mouth.
  • Commerce becomes participatory based on customer input.

How are the big brands starting to incorporate social commerce into their strategies? With these tips and tricks:

  • Installing call-to-action buttons on their websites and social network.
  • Building social media communities with dedicated customers.
  • Tracking, analyzing, and adapting campaigns based on the statistics.
  • Putting forward a sincere attitude.
  • Take advantage of ads, particularly those that include user-generated content (see below).
social commerc
Learn how social media is changing commerce as well.

Social Media and eCommerce Mix

This is what Social Media Explorer writes on the mix of social media and eCommerce:

“With technology and communication channels evolving quicker than ever before, it’s hard to predict with certainty what the next 12 months might have to offer.

However, past data and current trends strongly suggest that this will be a major year for eCommerce, with social media playing a key role in it. The data-backed trends I’ve in this post are likely to dominate the coming year. If you stay on top of them, you can have a year of unprecedented success with social commerce.”

Visual Content Changing Social Media

It’s been said time and time again that we’re a visual species. Our attention spans are shorter, we process images faster than text and visuals can impact our buying decisions more than words.

Superb images can have a great impact on users’ engagement on social media. And the proof is in the pudding: visual content generates 94 percent more total views and is 49 percent more likely to be shared on various social media channels.

When it comes to user-generated images, researches show that organic Instagram image increase conversation by 25% more than a professional image, so make sure to incorporate fan images into your campaign as social media is changing.

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels revolutionized how brands showcase and sell products. With short, engaging videos, brands can reach a broader audience and drive sales. By creatively integrating products into Reels, brands can capture viewers’ attention and drive them to take action.

From showcasing product features to sharing customer testimonials, brands can leverage Instagram Reels to create authentic connections with their audience, ultimately boosting brand awareness and driving conversions.

The interactive nature of Reels along with music allows brands to engage with customers in real-time, fostering a sense of community and loyalty.

Brands that embrace Instagram Reels’ creative potential can unlock new opportunities to advertise and sell their products effectively in today’s digital landscape.

User-Generated Content Is Changing Social Media

The marketing industry’s best-kept secret is user-generated content, also known as UGC.

This is when your customers post positive online reviews, share photos of themselves using your product, tweet out great comments about your brand, and participate in the company’s contests with your own images, videos, and photo captions.

UGC is how social media is changing
The importance of user-generated content in your social media marketing.

In addition to UGC essentially being a free marketing, UGC ads lead to ad campaigns with better results, an increase in sales, heightened consumer engagement, and cost savings for your marketing budget. UGC comes with a wide variety of benefits, especially when it’s integrated with social media.

Many will concede to the fact that it’s attractive to just post well-crafted messages on social media, but then it will portray your brand as sterile, behind on the times, and indifferent to your audience. This is where UGC enters the picture because it suggests you value your customers, you’re hip, and are open to new ideas.

Big brands are incorporating UGC with social media by employing these methods:

  • Encouraging customers to post reviews on their products online.
  • Sharing photos of users with the products using a specific hashtag.
  • Incorporating UGC into ad campaigns for holiday themes and promotions.
  • Newsletters feature certain users who shared the most photos, garnered the most subscribers, or have an interesting story about their lives and how the product improved their quality of life.

More User-Generated Content

There’s an endless number of ways UGC can be added to social media. But the big brands – we alluded to GoPro earlier – understand the value of their users uploading content related to their products.

When customers do this then it immediately transitions them into acting as brand advocates. Remember, people are a lot more likely to trust a brand if their peers are recommending it as opposed to a major star, a witty slogan, or a sleek advertising program.

This is one major way social media is changing from its humble beginnings.

Final Thoughts On How Social Media Is Changing

Some may believe that it’s too late to start a successful campaign on social media. The theory is that it’s too crowded to get noticed, no matter how much noise you attempt to make. But caving into this idea suggests that you have very little faith in your audience.

Big brands love social media because never before in history have companies been able to interact, monitor, track, and analyze their target audience on such a customized and personal level. Content marketing campaigns, crowdsourced endeavors, and social commerce initiatives are all being facilitated by social media.

Everything from Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign to McDonald’s “Ask a Question” campaign, big brands understand just how much value social media is providing everyone.

As technology continues to make advances all over the globe, more and more firms will utilize social media. Not only as a marketing tool but an important element of its ecosystem and business model. For the big brands today: long live social media!

Your Take: How Social Media Is Changing

How do you think social media is changing today? Is it helping with your small business? I’d love to know in the comments below if you believe social media is changing rapidly again in 2024.

  • Aadiv says:

    Hey Chris,

    It’s fascinating to see how social media has provided brands with a direct channel of communication that allows them to engage with their customers in real-time, respond to their queries, and even offer personalized solutions to their problems. Additionally, the role of social media influencers in brand marketing has become a significant trend in recent years, and it’s exciting to see how it’s redefining traditional marketing strategies. Your article provided valuable insights into the ways in which social media is changing the landscape of brand-customer interactions. Keep up the good work!

  • Gaurav Kumar says:

    Every good thing changes with time. And it is important to improve and upgrade. Social media is no exception. So even though there are threats of spending too much time on social media, you must recognize the importance of social media apps and sites.

    There was a time when social networks were trying to be unique. But social media sites need to be ready to adopt any feature of other social media sites that are engaging and increase user time spent.

    “Shorts” are the best example of such content.

    First, TikTok has shown the world how powerful shorts can be. Second, TikTok became the most downloaded app leaving behind apps like Facebook and Messenger in 2022.

    This is why other brands like YouTube and Facebook have also introduced “Reels” to make users stay on their social networks.

    It is just the beginning. More is coming.!

    Thanks for the post!

  • Neha Verma says:

    Hi Lisa and Eric,

    Social media marketing is booming in 2017 and it becomes really important to show your brand and content to right set of people at right time.

    Tools like hootsuite , Sprout Social and Buffer are great for scheduling, publishing and analyzing your content with ease.

    These features are absolutely much more effective than any option than manually analyzing and scheduling the content on social media platform.

    Thank you for sharing the informative article.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Neha – oh yes social media is here to stay – though it may change and grow again. I love the Buffer tool. I’ve been using it here for years now Neha. You are welcome and thank for coming by Neha.

      • Neha Verma says:

        Hi Lisa, You should try using hootsuite as well.

        Great tool for scheduling the posts and reporting.

        Thank you for the reply 🙂

        • Lisa says:

          Hi Neha, I have from time to time but don’t feel as comfortable using it as other social media management tools out there today. Thanks for coming by!

  • Suresh says:

    Great article. Social media are keep evolving. Always need to be up to date. I think video marketing is the most important aspect in today’s digital marketing. Business owners and marketers should focus more resources on this segment.

  • Harris Khan says:

    Hi Lisa and Erik,
    I have recently started working for an internet marketing agency in India. Even though a huge chunk of business owners do not know the benefits the industry here is facing a huge upward spike in terms of progress. with time I believe this will only increase. Don’t you think it will be too competitive for small businesses in the future to survive digitally?
    Would love to hear your views.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Harris, welcome to Inspire to Thrive. I do not think it will be too competitive. You will just have to find different ways to market and implement the business strategies in a digital way. Thanks for coming by and let me know if you have an example.

      • Harris Khan says:

        Thank You so much for your reply !
        For example e-commerce giants like amazon and Flipkart (in India) advertise heavily as they have huge marketing budgets. already the trends for bids are upwards in advertising dont you feel soon it will be too costly for new businesses to advertise ??

        • Lisa says:

          You are welcome. Good to know Harris, thanks. It may an then the market will adjust itself in a while. Cost are always based on market need. Have a good week.

  • Raj Poddar says:

    Great article, Lisa! Agree completely with it. However, I have but one point to add. I work at Sigmoid Analytics, which is a Big Data analytics company. I do not completely agree that social media is filtered enough for marketing of such technical products. Social media platforms like, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, to name a few, are populated with almost three quarters of the world. But, this population may not be aware of such technicalities, and neither will data scientists be present on such platforms. So, it would be a waste of time targeting opportunities in such a vast place. Anyways, keep up the good work.

  • Alex Higgins says:

    What an informative article. I work with companies to develop their personal brand and social media is becoming a much bigger part of that. I’ll definitely be using some of these tips in the future!
    Thanks for your help!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Alex, welcome to Inspire to Thrive. Thank you. Which was your favorite tip here? Have a wonderful day ahead.

  • John White says:

    Social media marketing is also great for the little guys not only the big brands. They are great spots to network and get the word out about your business because if you have 38 followers and a few of those share your content it can lead to another 2k+ eyes on your post. The viewership grows exponentially without any cost at all. It’s especially useful if you are sharing content that followers can use and find interesting.

  • HI Erik
    Reading your article I can’t but help remembering a cafe near where I live in Brisbane that just did not want a bar with annoy form of Social Media about a year ago. They wanted to fly under the radar, build their brand up and then be able to take on any one who had any comment about their food. They were paranoid that social media would destroy them, not grow them.

    Sad to say they have cease to run the business now. In your opinion and knowledge what would you say they should have done otherwise? If some is about to start a business or take over an existing business what social media branding tips could you share? Love to hear what you have on this topic for small business getting off the ground in a local market.

  • Keller says:

    Erik – great post man. I just looked through Oreo’s and a few of the companies you mentioned were crushing social and got some good ideas. Thank you!

  • Artice Upchurch says:

    Hi Erik,

    Thank you for publishing this wonderful post. I’ve never been much good with promoting on social media, but every once in awhile some posts will do really well in terms of traffic. However, with ideas from this post, I should start to become more successful with social media.

    On the other hand, social media is an excellent source for passing your message around to a continued and new audience. It all comes down to finding your voice and sticking to it. Thank you so much for this great post, Erik. 😀

  • Vin Boris says:

    Most of the people are still unaware and still require impact full education about the potential of plans developed for effective marketing on social media platforms. But yet Social Media Marketing strategy can prove to be a big boon and as an extremely powerful marketing utility on strategic front.

  • Kurt says:

    I love how social media is changing customer service. This is amazing for big brands who actually can afford to add it as a budget item. It’s tough however for a small company to compete sometimes (I know there are a lot of stories of small companies killing it on social media) when their customers expect them to be everywhere but they simply don’t have the manpower to cover all of the social media channels and still get their projects done on time.

    • Jason Conway says:

      Kurt –
      That is true that these major multi-billion dollar organizations can afford to add Social Media into their budget but for the smaller companies to compete what I would suggest is that they focus primarily on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These right now are the 3 biggest sites Socially (prob add pinterest in that as well to make it 4) and if the small company only dedicates 2 hrs total with their social media streams then the consumers can still get a sense of a reachable customer support.

      I do believe that the whole scope of the article wasn’t about “dominating” social media right out of the gate because let’s face it that is just not possible. Credibility and relationship building are key, but once it is established it should be easier to do a launch to get the business’ financials growing allowing for possible addition of social media marketing into the budget.

  • Hello Erik , Social Media playing a vital role always now a days it become more effective. I read your stuff and you done a good job. Your blog are very informative and useful as well. People can understand properly after read one time and this the quality of an article writer. Anyway thanks for sharing.

  • Steven Graham says:

    Is this going to have a way to shut out the local business man? Gary Vee from Vayenermedia believes everything will come full circle and go back to local but his media group only represents large firms. Personally I think the opportunity to connect with out customers and make them are friends and loyal to us is greater then it has ever been. I am going all in on the small business man.

  • Prince Ramgarhia says:

    social media play a big role in any business and this is very important to find right people for your business by targeting the right place

  • Sourav says:

    Hi Erik,

    Can’t agree with you more on the customer service point. In my country, India, the E-Commerce brans like Flipkart and Amazon are providing much better and faster customer service on social media sites than by email or phone. They also make sure to netralize any negative comments on FB or Twitter by quickly replying to it and apologizing/reasoning.

    It a very welcome change. And it’s not only related to big brans, but also to the Government bodies like Railways etc.

  • Hello Erik Emanuelli,

    Social media indeed have revolutionized whole of the online business content in the world.
    Many of the companies either big or small they all are promoting their products on
    these platforms.
    The changes to these social media is occurring constantly.
    Even if there is any problem, the customer complain on the social media is watched out quickly
    by the companies and it is being fixed out right away.
    This also leads to manage their more reputation in the market and more of the customers are
    attracted towards them.

    It depend on how, one could use these social media platforms in a more
    attractive and innovative ways to attract more and more customers.
    Every body is in a race to brand their company and business, at a large extent.
    The social media is acting more like a nuclear weapon for these online business companies.

    Thank you.
    Keep rolling 🙂
    Shantanu sinha

  • Don Purdum says:

    Hi Erik,

    It’s nice to see you here on Lisa’s site. I think in all honesty that this makes things more challenging for small business.

    There is now more content online generated in one day than in all of human history through 2014. There is so much noise and that requires us as small business owners who don’t have million dollar or multi-million dollar budgets to really think through our messages, branding, and appropriate strategies.

    There are many, many things we can learn from corporations, but at the same time our limitations are greater and so is our flexibility.

    It’s actually small business that is teaching big business. I see small buisnesses every day who are using social media in new and inventive ways to connect with their audiences.

    What I believe we are starting to see is a realization, finally, that mass marketing doesn’t work. As you said, it’s about relationships. But, how do we get to those relationships that propel us?

    For the first several years it’s going to be through developing communities where our audiences are at and every ecosystem has it’s own way of experiencing community.

    This will be the challenge… how does a small business invest the time and resources to develop community instead of just posting their “stuff”?

    There you go again Erik, challenging me to think… lol.

    Thanks for your article and have a great week!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Don, thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment on this one. You are right about it becoming more challenging for small businesses with smaller budgets and less people on staff to manage their social networks. It takes a lot of time to develop those relationships on social media and many businesses owners don’t have that time as they are busy running their business. It will be interesting to see if they change their budgets to increase their social marketing in the coming years. Nice to see you back here Don! Have a great weekend ahead.

  • Julian Wang says:

    May be, This is all because of Online Reputation Management (ORM). Companies scared of bad reputation in marketing therefore they keep doing customer supports 😀 😀 😀 . On the other side their are still free Business firms are not providing Support for their product and services like Facebook, Google products like chromecast. They just simply created F.A.Q section on their respective websites. May be everyone is not like following same trend.

    Thanks for sharing your deep observation on market study.

    • UGC can indeed benefit companies. See as example Amazon, or Yelp. So many things to learn from them!

      • Julian Wang says:

        Branding is all about best customer support. Marketing have no fix rule. For example Amazon. Big eCommerce chain, selling millions of products and most of satisfied customers.

    • Lisa says:

      Welcome to Inspire to Thrive Julian. Good point on the ORM’s. Oh yes those FAQ’s are popular but I wonder how often they are updated.

  • Erik, you are all over. Omnipresent. A god LOL!

    So happy you’re stressing this point. We need big biz to shift in their customer service and social gives monster brands 1 more channel to connect with customers. Gone are days of phone only service in timely fashion. Now email and twitter handles respond pronto. Or reps thru email and twitter 😉

    I recall dealing with a pleasant big company a while back. They responded to tweets in minutes. And I was in India, although now that I think of it, the customer service rep was likely my neighbor, LOL.

    Well written post Erik. Thanks much, and thanks Lisa for sharing the stage.


    • Thanks for the thumbs up, Ryan! 🙂

      I had a positive experience too with HostGator customer service, updating me on a ticket directly via Twitter.

      I appreciate your comment, my friend.
      Have a great rest of this week.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Ryan for taking the time to come by and comment on Erik’s post here, I’ve had some great experiences with Southwest Airlines and Cox Communications via Twitter. A few other companies not so good. Hopefullly more catch on and catch up!

  • Gerhard Homveld says:

    Hello Erik

    Social media is currently my biggest “asset’ to all my websites and online ventures. The facts that you state are very true and I thank you for this detailed article.

    As an internet marketing and business owner, social media is very important to me and the changes to these social media networks are happening constantly.

    • Hi Gerhard,
      glad you enjoyed the post.

      Social media can be seen as a hobby, a diversion, but the truth is that it can be a very powerful weapon for businesses, if used the right way.

      I’ve seen Facebook ads campaigns converting well when targeting the right audience, for example.

      Thanks for sharing your views,
      have a good one.

    • Lisa says:

      Welcome to Inspire to Thrive Gerhard. Glad to see that social media is working for your business. It takes time and hard work to make it work as well. (or money!) Thanks for coming by!

  • Ravinder Dande says:

    Hi Erik ,

    No doubt that social media is playing great role for business in getting customers They launched campaign on social media like facebook but You said right facebook became crowed place where getting noticed by one is not easy althought business want to try their hand on facebook too.

    • Hi Ravinder,
      it’s all a matter to find out who are interested in your product or service and then target them via the right channels.

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you for coming by Ravinder and taking the time to comment on this one. It certainly is becoming crowded there on Facebook today. It will be interesting to see how all the social networks play out in the coming years.

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